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Questions from Fiddler on the roof November 7, 2006

Posted by Cobus in Emerging Church, Emerging Culture.

I remember my parents trying to show me the film “The Fiddler on the Roof” when I was younger. I can’t remember seeing much more than half of it, and it basicly bored me. But then I watched it again in the past few days.

The film tells a lot of stories, the one that I want to mention is of the Father (Tevye the Milkman), and his three daughters. The film is set in a Jewish community in 1905 Russia. In the opening scene the father talks about the importance of their traditions in maintaining their balance in life.Tradition has it that the father arranges the marriage. But then his eldest daughter gives her pledge to a man without her father knowing about it. He only finds out a year later when they come to ask his permission for marriage. His second eldest daughter then meets a Russian student, and when they decide to marry, they only come to ask the blessing of Tevye, not his permission. The third daughter marries a non-Jew, after he Tevye said she was not alowed to do this.Throughout the whole film Tevye monologues with God and himself. And his struggle with adapting and understanding the changing culture is seen. But change happens.The original story was written in 1894. But I could identify with the struggle of the daughters, not the same specific issues, I mean, we’re over that. But with the fact that the culture are changing, and that our generation simply think differently than people before us have…

…or do we? We believe that our generation is unique, but are we that different from the people in the movie? Are the changes we have to make that much bigger? Or are our change the same kind that the people in the film had to face? Their change being from an antique, traditionalistic, Jewish culture to a 20th century, individualistic, globally influenced culture (you may read pre-modern and modern cultures if you like, this is just one attempt to explain these terms we use so easily). Can we really claim the same kind of change? Or are we exaggerating?


1. Les Misérables « Emerging South Africa - November 14, 2006

[…] I watched Les Misérables a few days ago. Again, as with Fiddler on the Roof there were a multitude of plots, and a lot of scenes which really get you thinking. I’m not even going to try and explain the film, but do yourself the favour and see it! […]

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